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George Orwell

Theme Analysis
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Excerpt From:
Animal Farm (chapter 1)

‘I have little more to say. I merely repeat, remember always your duty of enmity towards Man and all his ways. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend. And remember also that in fighting against Man, we must not come to resemble him. Even when you have conquered him, do not adopt his vices. No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade. All the habits of Man are evil. And, above all, no animal must ever tyrannise over his own kind. Weak or strong, clever or simple, we are all brothers. No animal must ever kill any other animal. All animals are equal.

‘And now, comrades, I will tell you about my dream of last night. I cannot describe that dream to you. It was a dream of the earth as it will be when Man has vanished. But it reminded me of something that I had long forgotten. Many years ago, when I was a little pig, my mother and the other sows used to sing an old song of which they knew only the tune and the first three words. I had known that tune in my infancy, but it had long since passed out of my mind. Last night, however, it came back to me in my dream. And what is more, the words of the song also came back - words, I am certain, which were sung by the animals of long ago and have been lost to memory for generations. I will sing you that song now, comrades. I am old and my voice is hoarse, but when I have taught you the tune, you can sing it better for yourselves. It is called “Beasts of England”.’

Theme Analysis:

            The theme in this excerpt from the book Animal Farm written by George Orwell is undoubtedly political. This excerpt and book in general represents the formation and the results of a communist state. The theme of politics is undoubtedly noticeable due to the mimicking of certain communist government traits and the effective use of literary techniques to present his negative views towards such a government.

            The theme of politics and communism can most immediately be seen by the use of the label “comrades” to describe fellow farm animals. This theme is also apparent  when the Major states “No animal must ever live in a house, or sleep in a bed, or wear clothes, or drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco, or touch money, or engage in trade.” This is a reference to the communist manifesto, when it states what communists should and shouldn’t do, such as engage in capitalist “trade”. This communist theme is obviously makes the work political and at this point the reader doesn’t know if Orwell is describing such a government in a positive or negative manner.

            If one where to read the entire book, one would see that Orwell portrays communism in a negative manner. He presents the rebellion of the proletariat as the rebellion of the animals against the humans, which is mentioned in the above excerpt. He then continues to depict the crumbling of the animal’s society and the betrayal of certain animals to the original reasons for the rebellion through descriptive imagery and effective use of communist allusions. The imagery can be scene in lines such as "The old Major, frail and bent", and allusions such as the song, similar to a communist "comrade" song.

            As demonstrated in the excerpt and throughout the entire novel, the theme is politics, specifically centering on communism. Orwell depicts the communist theme in a negative manner through imagery and allusions.

 

Vincent Andrews
World Author Website Project
Coral Gables Senior High School
IB English IV - period 2